The subject of sustainable geocaching goes under the microscope during the German geocaching event “Gecko 2012.” The Geocaching “Konferenz” (Gecko) offers three days of workshops, lectures, and events on the topic of keeping and expanding, “sustainable geocaching in harmony with the environment, nature, and in harmony with our fellow human beings.” It’s a powerful undertaking in Germany, which has the highest geocache saturation of any country in the world.
Jan aka Czerkus is part of the organizational team for Gecko-2012. Jan says a majority of geocachers play in harmony with nature. “Geocachers often say that the world is their playing field. If you use nature for your hobby, it should be self-evident to protect your playing field. This is the central slogan of the conference.”
This is one of the first conferences of its kind. Jan says, “All workshops, activities and discussions are focused on environmental education and building bridges between geocachers and their critics. As well, we’ll give geocachers who are environmentally aware a platform to develop networks. At the moment we are learning a lot, because there is no experience or event like this that we can lean on [and learn from].”
The events at the conference don’t just teach people about respecting nature, they embrace the outdoors and geocaching. Some of the sessions of the conference include courses on “T5 tree climbing,” “Observing and protecting animals,” and trips to nearby EarthCaches. Jan says there’s more, “There will be workshops about planning Cache In Trash Out (CITO) Events, discussions with hunters, forest rangers, and environmental activists and nature-guides will lead the geocachers in the woods to show them their play field.”
Jan says geocachers have a great responsibility to the environment because geocaching is a highly visible activity, “Geocaching is very transparent and leaves geocachers’ marks in the World Wide Web. Everybody can see what we do, where, and how often.”
Along with seeing geocaching, Jan also hopes the greater community sees geocachers’ environmental efforts like Gecko 2012. He says, “We have a very special responsibility” to care for the environment. It’s even more fitting then, that after Gecko 2012, a giant Cache In Trash out (CITO) is planned. Gecko 2012 begins on June 8.